Bristol joins Post 47 as ‘special adviser’Former MLB manager returns to his American Legion roots
The Haywood Post 47 Baseball Club announced on Monday former Major League Baseball Manger Dave Bristol, who was also a standout for the local American Legion baseball team in the early 50s, has agreed to be a special adviser beginning this summer.
“This is huge for our kids,” said Post 47 Athletic Director Larry Harbin. “We have one of our own, a former Post 47 standout, returning to lend a quarter century of professional baseball expertise for the development of our players. Anything he offers will be a bonus. Adding Bristol to our baseball organization with Caleb (McConnell) and Eryk (McConnell), two of the best young baseball minds in Western North Carolina, will help us reach our goals as an baseball organization faster.”
Bristol played for Haywood Post 47 in the early 50s. His legacy for hitch-hiking or jumping trains from Andrews to Waynesville to play legion baseball still resonates today.
“I just loved the game,” laughed Bristol. “If it meant getting there by any means necessary, I was going to do it. I am so honored just to play a part, a small part, in helping teach baseball to young men. Especially those kids playing for Haywood Post 47. This organization is going in the right direction. I mean that. To hold morning practices and play games at night is a fantastic idea. The McConnells are two of the finest young men I know and they are excellent at teaching the game. I’m just excited to be a part of Haywood Post 47.”
Bristol went on to play in college at the University of North Carolina and Western Carolina University in the mid-50s before signing with the Cincinnati Reds as a second baseman. Although he did not play in major leagues, he eventually became a player/manager in the Cincinnati farm system at the age of 24 with the Hornell Redlegs of the Class D New York-Penn League in 1957.
In 1966, Bristol was named to the Reds’ coaching staff and took over the club as manager on July 13. At 33, he was the youngest pilot in the Major Leagues that season through 1969. Bristol guided the Reds through three and a half winning seasons.
Bristol, who lives in Andrews, also managed the Milwaukee Brewers (1970–72), Atlanta Braves (1976–77) and the San Francisco Giants (1979–80).
Opening Day for the Senior American Legion Haywood Post 47 Dragoons will be at 7:05 p.m., Saturday, May 24, against visiting Donelson (Tenn.) Post 88 Dodgers at the Tuscola Ballpark.
The game will be a reunion for Post 88 Manager Jerry Bell and Bristol.
Bell was a 1969 second round draft pick of the Seattle Pilots and pitched for four seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1971-74.
His manager was Bristol.
“I’m so excited to see Dave again,” said Bell. “He was a smart baseball man and a real gentleman. He was the one that gave me a shot in the big leagues and that still means a lot to me to this very day. The players at Post 47 are very lucky just to have him around. In that mind of his, there is a lot of baseball knowledge.”